Items to Include in a Home First Aid Kit
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Items to Include in a Home First Aid Kit

What do I need to include in a home first aid kit?

It's a good idea to put together and store a first aid kit for your home to have on hand when needed.  The time to gather the items and put them into an easy-to-grab location is before a medical emergency arises.  When a medical emergency arises, most people are too panicked or in a hurry to run around trying to figure out where they put an item such as a bandage or tweezers or cotton balls.  Of course, if it is a life or death emergency, professional help should be sought immediately.  But even in some life and death cases, being able to locate first aid medical items needed to help a person until professional help arrives can mean the difference between life or death.

Having a home first-aid kit that is easily accessible is important.  But, what should go into this kit?  Where should I store it?  And, what kind of container should I store it in?  First, you can purchase a ready-made kit from a local drug store to fill a large part of the basic needs.  But, even with a ready-made kit, when you actually need to use the kit it's important to remember to replenish anything that is used.  So, it's important to know the basics of what is included.  When you make your own kit, you can purchase any style of container in which to store it.  Containers that are easily washable are best.  A nice size container is a plastic container that is used to store sweaters.  You can find these in most discount stores that carry containers.  If you prefer, you could even purchase several small plastic containers and separate the items and label the containers based upon type of emergency or medical need.

Here is a list of some of the top necessities that should be included in every home first-aid kit:

  • First Aid Book - This item is the one that the most time and research should be given.  A really good first aid book can walk you trough common medical emergencies when you don't have time to read detail.  Try to find one that can give you a quick and ready access to needed information in an emergency.  If you find one that is in-depth and difficult to read, you will not have time to quickly find the reference you need when a problem arises.  There are books that have large colorful pictures to walk you through steps and are indexed well.  Store this book on top of the first aid container you choose.
  • Several pair of sterile gloves.  When you are dealing with body fluids, it is always good to protect yourself with the use of medical sterile gloves.  You can find these in bundles for a relatively inexpensive cost.  With the gloves, you can also be sure not to transmit any bacteria from your hands when treating the injured person as you may not have time to rush to a sink to take time to wash thoroughly with soap and water.  But, it doesn't take very long to throw on a pair of sterile gloves which are easily accessible.
  • Bandages - This includes Band Aids (or your favorite brand) of various sizes as well as rolled gauze.  Note:  When including rolled gauze, you will also need to make sure you have special bandage tape or pins in which to secure the gauze.
  • Cotton Balls
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Soap - A small container of liquid soap may be your choice since water may not be readily accessible in a hurry.
  • A disinfectant wipe.  You can find alcohol prep pads or antibiotic towelettes which work well and are pre-wrapped and easy to grab.  When you stock and restock your first aid kit, make sure you purchase several of these.
  • Rubbing alcohol and Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibiotic ointment - You can find this in a tube sold at any drug or discount store.
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Burn ointment - You can also include some form of Aloe Vera
  • Witch Hazel Astringent
  • Iodine
  • Syrup of ipecac
  • Antihistamine - This type of medication is often recommended to use in case of contact with an allergen, such as a bee sting.
  • Non-Aspirin Pain Relievers - If there are children in the house (even on rare occasions) include both Children Pain Relievers as well as adult pain relievers.
  • Aspirin - Include Baby Aspirin as well as adult dosages
  • Antacid, Laxatives and Anti-diarrheic Medications
  • Eye wash solution
  • Blood pressure monitor
  • Ice or heat packs - It's also a good idea to always have an ice pack ready to grab that is stored in the door of your freezer.  There are some heat packs you could store inside the kit that only become hot when you bend them.

If you have family members who take prescription medication, include a list of medicines routinely taken for each family member to refer to if needed.  You will also want to include any known medical issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, seizure disorders, etc. on each family member's card.  You will also want to include doctor names and numbers.  One easy way to do this is to simply use an index card for each family member and write neatly or type medical information for each family member.  If possible, have the card laminated and store in front of the first-aid kit or tucked into the front cover of the first-aid book.

Make sure to replenish anything that is used shortly after use so it's ready at all times.  Also, be sure that any medications, ointments, etc. that is included is checked frequently for expiration dates.  If you have trouble remembering to replenish and check your home medical first-aid kit for expiration dates, try to make a point of doing so every time you check your smoke alarms.

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Comments (1)

I've always been advocate of assembling first aid kits item by item because commercial first aid kits are always lacking crucial items. Good article. Excellent list of items.